It’s one thing to create a website, but making it successful requires specific skills and strategies. Even if you have a super-modern, apparently well-performing site that’s full of engaging content, you still might attract only a few visitors. To really flourish, a website needs several well-implemented elements that function in tandem. It’s important to consider and act upon a few key items. Here’s a brief description of several crucial strategies to focus on as you build and manage your website.
Focus on Purpose
In the beginning, be laser-focused on the “why.” What’s the purpose of your website? If it’s related to a business, how will the site attract potential customers in order to start building mutually beneficial relationships? Is the focus on information, your brick-and-mortar location (if you have one), and/or online commerce? What’s the priority of each purpose? If it’s a non-profit, community-based, fine arts, or online work hub, what would you like your visitors to do when they visit the site? Brainstorm answers to these questions, which will in turn make other questions arise. Thoughts might flow out haphazardly at first. The idea is to externalize, then whittle down your purpose(s) for building a website, which will then help determine its structure and function.
Establish a Firm Foundation
A firm foundation has to do with the nuts and bolts of your website — the back end. These include domain registration, hosting, and third-party solutions. You may decide to hire a web designer/developer, or go more DIY. Consider items that may be required to support the function of your site; operation, automation, and incident management tools all help to make business sites work smarter and interpret data effectively. Depending on the purpose of the website, you also may require additional apps and plug-ins.
Create Exceptional Design and Navigation
Once you’ve determined your purpose and foundation, the creative part comes in — artistic and analytical. The artistic part relates to the design, and the analytical part relates to navigation. They should be seamlessly integrated. Now is the time to take a look at leaders in your field who have high-level websites, and take lots of notes. Decide on ideas you might want to borrow, and what you’d like to do differently. Every enterprise or organization has its own DNA; your design should be in line with current best practices, yet have several elements that make it stand out. Although many template-based website builders build logical, easy navigation into their structure, test, and re-test to make sure that visitors can easily find what they need no matter what device they use.
Produce Excellent Content
Consistently, regularly producing content that is engaging and useful is a vital part of running a website if it is to be successful. Doing so not only gives a visitor reason to remain on your site for longer but also provides an incentive to return for more, increasing the probability of building your mailing list and selling your products/services. It’s all about the “like, know, and trust” factor. Even if you are focused on selling products as an online retailer, don’t overlook the importance of creating high-quality content. Include plenty of relevant, compelling visual content, as well.
Prioritize Marketing and SEO
Social media, forums, and blogs — when you first build a website, it’s vital that you get the news out about the launch via any platform that’s appropriate for your market. Be sure to learn and use your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) tools — preferably integrated at every step of the design and development process — and have SEO audits done regularly, either by you/your department or with the assistance of an outside company. This will make a significant difference in your website’s ability to attract visitors.
Building and managing a high-level, functional, and visually compelling website involves a combination of effective planning, strategy, and prioritization. Try these suggestions to boost your probability of success.